Acute lung injury (ALI) is a complex and devastating illness, often occurring in the setting of sepsis and trauma. Despite recent advances in the understanding and treatment of ALI, pathogenic mechanisms and genetic modifiers in ALI remain incompletely understood. Furthermore, there has been increasing interest in the identification of genetic variations that contribute to ALI susceptibility and severity in order to gain unique insights into ALI pathogenesis and to design novel treatment strategies. However, the sporadic nature of ALI and the lack of family-based cohort studies preclude conventional genomic approaches such as linkage mapping (or "positional cloning"). We have used a "candidate gene approach" with extensive gene expression profiling studies in animal (rat, murine, canine) and human models of ALI to identify potential ALI candidate genes associated with sepsis and ventilator-associated lung injury. These studies, when combined with innovative in silico bioinformatics approaches, revealed both novel (pre-B-cell colony enhancing factor, myosin light chain kinase) and previously identified (interleukin 6, macrophage migration inhibitory factor) gene candidates. Subsequent single nucleotide polymorphism discovery and genotyping studies revealed polymorphisms that demonstrate an influence on ALI susceptibility in patients. These studies indicate that the candidate gene approach is a robust strategy to provide novel insights into the genetic basis of ALI, and the identification of potentially novel therapeutic targets.
- Interleukin 6
- Pre-B-cell colony enhancing factor
- Single nucleotide polymorphism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine